Posts

Showing posts from February, 2019

Beauty on the Bad Days: Find beauty during an emergency

Image
Four days ago, I gathered four pills into my hand that I needed to take at four o'clock that afternoon. I carried them toward the kitchen, pausing to let my dogs out and back in, then emptied my hand onto the counter.

There were only three pills.

I panicked. I must have dropped my muscle relaxer. I knew my dogs would be quick to eat anything they found on the floor, so I retraced and searched the path I had taken. Twice. No sign of the small, white tablet. Unsure of which dog, if any, had discovered the pill, I hesitantly returned to my routine. About an hour later, I realized the consequence when my youngest dog, six-month-old Riley, began vomiting.

I rushed to her and found she was barely able to stand on her noodle-like legs. Her snout was covered in thick, wet saliva and her eyes were unfocused. I carried her to a chair (grateful she only weighed seven and a half pounds), held her in my lap, and scrolled through my contacts list with a shaky hand until I found my vet. I pressed t…

Marking Time With Beauty

Image
Today is my nephew's fourth birthday, and it has reminded me not only of the changes associated with growing up, but also of how quickly time passes.


When I look back on the last four years of my life, it's easy  to focus on what I've lost.


- The long hair that I loved to style has since been cut short due to my fatiguing arm muscles. 
- Though I had just gotten my wheelchair, I only used it for certain tasks whereas today, I use it every time I leave the house. 
- And I used to be able to take a nap anywhere, be it car, couch, or reclining lawn chair, but now I need a machine to support my breathing every time I want to sleep.

But then I look at my nephew and see the beauty I have gained.


- I get a running hug from him each time I visit, and I am able to hug him in return.
- He gets excited to show me what he's working on, whether it's building a creation with blocks, describing his imaginative world, or lining up and organizing his toys, and I have eyes to see his joys.

Books: Distractions, Mysteries, and Beauty

Image
As my physical abilities diminish, I have found a renewed comfort in reading books. Their stories allow me to escape into unique worlds, to learn new information, and to glimpse beauty through the eyes of many characters.

I have written before about revisiting childhood joys, and though my love of reading began at a young age, the hobby has never really left me. Instead, it has developed and grown with me throughout the years. 

However, I was reminded of its early entrance into my life by two things this week: a photograph and my current read (The Weed That Strings the Hangman's Bag, A Flavia de Luce Novel). 

In the picture, I am about seven years old and perched on a too-small tricycle with plastic wheels in a freshly-mowed green lawn. My heavy, chunky eyeglasses are falling down my nose as I concentrate on reading the paperback book in my hands, and though it is tank top and shorts weather, it's clear I can't be bothered with the typical distractions of summer. This was my …

The Beauty of Letting Go

Image
Friday came and went, and my world didn't fall apart.

For the last eight years, on thefirst Friday in February, I have put on a fundraising drive for the American Heart Association's Go Red for Women campaign. It's a cause that I have cared about since being introduced to it twelve years ago in Washington DC.

I have a condition called restrictive cardiomyopathy, which means my heart doesn't function normally and causes symptoms of congestive heart failure. After living with the diagnosis for almost a decade, I decided to do something with it, and I began advocating on behalf of the AHA. In my first year of joining their grassroots committee, You're the Cure, they invited me to the Capitol to speak with my congressmen. It was there that I learned the staggering statistic that heart disease is the number one killer of women, affecting one woman every 80 seconds.


And I met women from all across the country whose stories were similar to mine: when we visited our doctors w…